It’s called a beacon and it’s coming to Amboy Road

It runs parallel to the French Broad River, with its recreation opportunities and popular riverside parks. But just try crossing Amboy Road. There’s the real adventure, right? This heavily traveled road has a 45 mph speed limit with narrow shoulders and no sidewalks on either side.

So City Traffic Engineer Jeff Moore has been working on a safety solution in partnership with NCDOT, Public Works Street Division and other City departments. In coming weeks, the Transportation Department will install both a crosswalk and what’s called a “Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon,” or RRFB, near the newer Smoky Mountain Adventure Center. The Streets Division has just completed the concrete sidewalk and ADA accessible ramp for the crosswalk.

The flashing crosswalk sign will give additional visibility to help pedestrians cross Amboy Road more safely, connecting them to Carrier Park and river access steps.

“The way this will operate is that it will be pedestrian activated,” said Moore. “The beacon will flash on both sides of the street to indicate to drivers coming from either direction that someone is about to enter the intersection.”
When drivers see the flashing light, it indicates they should stop as someone is about to cross the road.

Motorists who drive through this area will need to get used to the new traffic control addition. So spread the word: It’s coming.

The cost for this beacon and crosswalk is $8,000, paid for by TDA funding.

“There has been a significant increase in the number of cars, walkers, bicyclists and boaters near Amboy Road River Park and the City and its community partners are responding to that,” said Stephanie Monson Dahl, the City’s Riverfront Redevelopment Director. “This area changed a lot in the last two years.”

Entrepreneurs and developers have invested millions of dollars in projects like Upstream Way, the Asheville Food Park and the Smoky Mountain Adventure Center — all of which are helping to build on Amboy Road’s character as Asheville’s outdoor recreation hub that Asheville Outdoor Center and Carrier Park helped establish years ago.

There will be traffic impacts during installation of the beacon in the form of lane closures, though Amboy Road itself will remain open.

Once the Amboy Road beacon gets established, Moore hopes to add others in the City.

“This will be the first of many, I hope,” he said. “It’s an effective device, especially in this context, on a two-way road.”